This is where ambitious British company, Apex, comes in with its AP-0. It's not packing more power than anyone could possibly use on the A34 just outside of Oxford, and it doesn't cost a million-billion pounds to buy. Instead, it's an electric supercar – something to rival the Porsche 911 Turbos and McLaren 570Ss of this world.
Apex's approach is also refreshing in that it has concentrated on minimising the weight of the car – despite a hefty 90kWh battery pack. It also looks like a supercar thanks to the smorgasbord of aero details, all of which have a purpose in sticking the car to the road. They include a 'fin' which is inspired by F1 and Le Mans type cars, but in this case houses the LiDAR camera system for mapping the car's surroundings and feeding into driving aids. And there are plenty of driver aids, though in this case they are more about enhancing the driver's experience than taking it away from them.
Let's take a look at the finer details of the AP-0 and see how it stacks up.
It's a mad situation we find ourselves in; with huge power figures so easily attainable from electric motors the 650bhp that the AP-0 delivers seems almost conservative. Its maximum torque of 428lb ft even more so. However, there's an even more impressive figure we need to take into account with this car, and that's the 1200kg kerbweight.
For an EV packing a 90kWh battery, itself weighing 550kg, that's featherweight. But it has a dramatic affect on the performance, with the rear wheel drive AP-0 managing 62mph in 2.3 seconds and topping out at 190mph. The low kerbweight should also mean the car is handy round the corners with less of that inertia EVs usually suffer from. Adjustable push rod suspension keeps weight inboard whilst those aerodynamics – alongside 245 section front and 305 section rear wheels – keep the car planted. As will the centre of gravity which lies around bum-scraping height above the tarmac.
Another benefit of low weight and decent aero is range. On the WLTP cycle the AP-0 is good for 320 miles. It's compatible with CCS, Type 2 and GB/T charging connectors and, using CCS ultra-rapid charging, takes less than 15 minutes to reach 80 per cent.
The cabin of the AP-0 (within its carbon fibre tub) is sparsely appointed, featuring smooth and clean surfaces to help concentrate the driving experience. It even features a holographic augmented reality display and the company is promising an AR Race Instructor for track use – which we imagine to be like an actual Playstation on wheels. Given that Apex itself says this is a way of 'gamifying' driving, we're probably not far off.
A forward-facing advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) is located alongside the LiDAR in the car's fin and is capable of identifying potential hazards such as pedestrians, cyclists and other cars. The LiDAR effectively 'maps' the car's immediate surroundings in great detail, and can reach up to 100m away in all weather conditions – information that is fed into the ADAS for improved safety.
Level 3 autonomy is delivered by the ADAS, and comes in the form of automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise, lane keep assist as well as being connected to mapping for navigation. Apex reckons that its existing system will be able to deliver Level 4 autonomy in time. When those improvements to software are made, the built-in functionality to gain over-the-air updates will almost certainly deliver it.
Apex has priced the AP-0 from £150,000 – which doesn't seem like an awful lot of money in the scheme of things. However, production won't start until Q4 2022, so realistically deliveries are three years away. Still, in the under-represented market segment of electric supercars it's good to welcome a new entrant, and the design philosophy of minimising weight and complicatedness is a good one in our book.
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